Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2023 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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On May 20, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 used a portion of the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to sponsor a patriotic-themed event for children at the Green Cove Springs Library. More than 70 participants received books and American flags, played games, made crafts, visited with face painters and balloon artists, took photos with Wonder Woman, and enjoyed ice pops. They also participated in a Kids Choice Awards voting exercise, provided by the Clay County Supervisor of Elections Office. Sixteen lodge members and volunteers along with two Green Cove Springs Police Department officers supported the event by greeting families and assisting with activities. Jennifer Parker, library branch manager and Leading Knight, delivered books and materials from the event to the local Head Start program for their pre-k students.



Green Cove Springs PD Officers Milliken and Vanhof and Exalted Ruler Lynn Elrod posing with Wonder Woman

Lodge members Eddie and Barbara Thompson assisting the Orvosh family at a craft table

Supervisor of Elections Community Service Coordinator Heather Stewart assisting families at the voting machine

Head Start Center Manager Marisol Buitrago and Library Manager Jennifer Parker, Leading Knight


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On June 13, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge’s PER Tuesday night charity bingo continued to support the community by presenting a check for $2,000 to the Clay Education Foundation/Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This program provides books each month to children from birth to age 5.

Pictured are Paul Orvosh, PDD; Clay Education Foundation members Pat Litterick and Ruth Payne; Lynn Elrod, Exalted Ruler; and Ed Weston, PER, bingo chair.


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On June 24, Green Cove Springs Elks Lodge #1892 used a portion of the Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to hold an activity day for local children. Fourteen members and guests assisted children as they moved through a variety of stations, including painting a patriotic picture, taking origami lessons, receiving kalimba music instruction and playing games. Eighteen children and their families were the recipients of art supplies, origami kits, a kalimba, hula hoops, frisbees and other items to take home to continue the fun activities together. A lunch of pizza, chips, fruit and cookies was served as well.

Pictured are member Don Hill leading kalimba music lessons; Jennifer Parker, Leading Knight, and Kathie Thompson, PER assisting with origami lessons; Kathie Thompson, PER and Laquetta Willimon, trustee, helping with games; Lynn Elrod, Exalted Ruler, and Joy Elrod, Loyal Knight, leading a patriotic painting session; and the Brooks family.


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Hayden Heavener, representing Jacksonville Lodge, placed fourth in the nation at the Elks national Hoop Shoot contest in Chicago, Illinois, April 22. Hayden’s final score was 21 out of 25. Hayden’s parents, Courtney and Clark Heavener; grandparents Bev and David Heavener; and two brothers traveled to Chicago with him. They met ESPN broadcaster Sarah Spain, who gave the keynote speech about grit and perseverance at the awards banquet. "As long as you tried your hardest, as long as you put in the work, you can look back and say I did right by myself and my family and my competitors. That is truly grit," said Spain. The contestants got a tour of Soldier Field, swapped trading cards, helped make Welcome Home snack bags with the Elks National Veterans Service Commission and had fun in the ENF Hoop Shoot FanZone. Hayden is the first contestant from Jacksonville Lodge to make it to the national level.

Pictured are Hayden Heavener with his two brothers and ESPN broadcaster Sarah Spain, Hayden shooting at the nationals, and his trading card.


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The Jacksonville Elks Lodge Americanism Committee visited Waterleaf Elementary School to promote Americanism to the kindergarten and first grade hard of hearing and deaf class April 6. They opened the presentation with the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence. Members taught the meaning of the pledge and flag etiquette and presented a classroom flag and pledge kits to each student, which included a personal flag, flag stickers, activity worksheets and a take-home flag lapel pin stapled to the Elks U.S.A. “About Our Flag” brochure to share with their parents. The students were excited to receive the flags and the pledge memory worksheets so they could practice at home with their family and memorize the Pledge of Allegiance. The lodge donated $300 to help start this program for the 2023-2024 term. When asked how the Elks communicated their messages to the students, Carla Ray Rhymes, Americanism Lodge Chair, said, “technology allows for them to have cochlear implants and amplification devices. This is an all-verbal deaf and hard of hearing program provided by Duval County Public School. I know basic American Sign Language to better communicate when necessary with my grandson, who is in this classroom. I also volunteer twice a week within this program. Due to my volunteering, I have established relationships with the students to communicate on a better level.” On May 4, the committee made a 30-day follow-up visit to the class. Most of the students memorized the pledge from beginning to end. One of the students who required minimal assistance was upset and asked to try again, which was the perfect example of patriotic awareness and pride from a kindergartener.

Pictured are Ms. Fernandez, teacher; students Malachi Rackley, Jace Gibbs, Tyrelle Franklin, Eli Smith (Rhymes’ grandson), and Keilia Kwizera Jolly; and Carla Ray Rhymes, Americanism Lodge Chair.

Also pictured are the worksheets.